It’s been four years and just a few days shy of four months since Leroy died.
I can’t say exactly how many days of care giving went into his cancer battle over the many years of fighting the disease, but I can say, I went from being a novice to a skilled provider in that time. I really didn’t have a choice, but there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for him any way.
So when I began a particular project up at the Kimmel Cancer Center that had to do with couples living with metastatic colon cancer; “our” cancer, I thought I could handle it because of my experience. I think it really did help when I met the couples who were facing the same thing Leroy and I faced, but these last few weeks, I’ve come to realize I’m still carrying a lot of that care giving and the sadness that came with it, deep inside. I mean DEEP inside.
I’d open my eyes and it was 2:15 a.m…..then it was 3:20…and then it was 5:40….and each time my mind would be racing over conversations about chemo, changing dressings, eating the right “cancer” foods. It was all coming back and it was hard to find that place, that box, where all those thoughts had escaped from.
My method now was the same as it was then; I walked. Getting out in the fresh air, putting one foot in front of the other, finding a really good pace and listening to any music that would help me push back those memories. It worked this time, but now I know that “stuff” still sits in a place where certain triggers have the power to pull them up.
Silly me…thinking I was strong enough to banish that part of me…Not exactly.